Senate blocks military sexual assault bill

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The U.S. Senate on Thursday defeated an impassioned legislative push to reduce the growing problem of sex assault in the armed forces by overhauling the way the military prosecutes serious crimes.

By a vote of 55 to 45, a bill championed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand failed to get the 60 votes needed for passage.

The measure would have removed military commanders from deciding whether most serious allegations of wrongdoing by their subordinates should be prosecuted.

Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, said the change was needed because bias can creep into the decisions of commanders and that has led to many sex assaults not being prosecuted.

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